recess radio program

11/01/04
Dan Zane's Parades and Panormas
    by John Cech

 

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That’s Dan Zanes with a campaign song for Abraham Lincoln from the 1860 presidential race. It’s on a new cd called Parades and Panoramas that features 25 tunes from the many American folksongs collected by the poet, historian, hobo, journalist, biographer, singer, novelist Carl Sandburg in his 1927 volume, The American Songbag. Sandberg’s goal was to gather together the threads of popular American music -- the kind that people played and sang in parlors and churches, on porches and village greens, at fairs, at work, by campfires, while traveling -- in the days before television and radio and phonographs. And this is Zanes’ purpose, too, with his talented group of singers and musicians, in this and his other remarkable cds for children and families -- to recreate a once vital musical heritage and to rekindle the spirit of community that is formed when people make music together.

Here are songs of immigration, like Across the Western Ocean, written in the 1850s, in the wake of the Irish potato famine:

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And here are rollicking nonsense songs like The Monkey’s Wedding, and cowboy laments like When the Curtains of Night are Pinned Back, and border songs like Lo Que Digo, sung here by Barbara Brousal:

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Joyful, sad, mysterious, rough and ready, graceful, plaintive, poetic -- this is irresistable music. Stuff for the toes to tap and the heart to sing:

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Copyright 2004 © John Cech

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"Recess!" is a co-production of the University of Florida's Center for Children's Literature and Culture and WUFT-FM, "Classic 89."